Valley’s First Sake Lounge Launched at Morimoto Napa

By L Pierce Carson

Image Credit: Napa Valley Register

Not only do locals and visitors have the opportunity to taste a wide variety of wine at area tasting rooms and eateries, a new downtown Napa lounge is offering them a chance to explore the relatively unknown world of sake.

Momosan Lounge — carved out of the street-side entry to Morimoto Napa — opened to great fanfare a little more than a month ago on the occasion of owner Masaharu Morimoto’s 60th birthday.

And the experience in both lounge and restaurant is made even more enjoyable and educational as Morimoto Napa has four sake sommeliers on the staff.

For example, one of the sake sommeliers will offer each guest the opportunity to taste one of the dozen or more sakes on hand, paired with salt from the prefecture in Japan where that sake was produced. Next he will place a sake glass into a square wooden box — a masu in Japanese — and begin pouring the sake into the glass. The glass becomes full as he continues to pour, with the liquid splashing into the box. That lagniappe — a tradition for the restaurant’s owner — is what he calls “a little extra.”

You’ll undoubtedly learn that the masu continues as tradition here. Early on it served as form of measurement in Japan. Men would be paid in rice, measured out in the masu, says corporate beverage director Eduardo Dingler. “They would take the (rice-filled) masu home to their wives who would use that rice for the evening meal. Then the workers would head off to the sake bar to socialize and use the masu for drinking.” Read more…

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